Moni Soren’s 20-year-old daughter Lokhi Mardi left their tribal village of Habibpur in West Bengal in 2013, with the promise of work and a better life in Delhi. On Thursday, the 61-year-old waits for the paperwork to be completed to take her daughter’s battered body home for last rites.
Moni came to Delhi with the help of volunteers with the NGO Shaktivahini, who traced the family to their village.
Mardi, 23, succumbed to injuries on Wednesday because of the torture allegedly inflicted upon her by an employer in Delhi. Mardi and her cousin were trafficked from the village by a “friend”, who brought them to the city and placed them as domestic help in well-to-do houses. Her cousin, around 30 years of age, is under arrest on charges of involvement in the racket.
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According to medical reports, Mardi was admitted to the hospital with serious fractures on her spine, legs and arms — in a starved and dehydrated condition. In her statement to the DCW and Delhi Police, Lokhi alleged that her employer used to beat her up with iron rods, and had not given her proper food for several weeks.
Police sources said that her “employer”, a coaching centre owner living near Mukherjee Nagar, had kept her locked in the house since she started working in June.
Moni Soren and her cousin arrived at Banga Bhavan last week, and are still bewildered by the turn of events.
They blame Maryam — who allegedly “owns” a placement agency and brought the two women to Delhi — for Lokhi’s plight. “She said they will get Rs 10,000 a month. We haven’t received anything. Every time we asked for money, Maryam refused to listen to us. When I asked her send my daughter back, she said Lokhi would be back in a month or two,” said Moni.
The accused employer — Atul Lohiya — as well as two “placement agency” owners — Maryam and Ganesh — have been arrested. The police are looking to trace the “trafficking conspiracy”.
The incident came to light when Lokhi was admitted to RML hospital on December 19. There, her cousin called the 181 helpline of DCW. DCW Chairperson Swati Maliwal visited her and got her shifted to Max Hospital, Saket, on December 21.
DCP Northwest Milind Dumbere told The Indian Express that the post mortem is scheduled for Friday, after which the body will be handed over to the family.